Monday, 30 November 2015

November Favourites

There goes another month! I'm not even going to mention the usual phrases (oh go on then: how? what? busy! eep!), let's just dive right into the favourites for November.

Sunday. The one precious day of the week when Dave and I get to spend more than one hour with each other. In these busy times (there, I said it) it has become a day to cherish. To just say no when people ask if we are free. We're not doing anything particularly exciting, on one occasion we even tackled the giant ironing mountain. We potter around the house for a while and then we try to take Bob somewhere new so that he has lots of experiences to store in his little puppy brain. We enjoy leisurely meals and cups of strong coffee and lots of tasty treats. We crash out in front of the TV and watch something light and fluffy. It's both nothing and everything and is helping to keep us sane.

Bob's Big Adventures! And ours too! On Sundays, that one precious day, we usually take the Bobster somewhere new. So far he's been on lots of different woodland walks and I even donned my wellies and took him into the sea. All the books say that the fear can come about at any time and so, as we don't want a total wuss for a dog, we're taking him to do all these things and turning him into a mighty warrior...and we get to have lots of fun too. When was the last time you put your wellies on and jumped into the sea as an adult? If you're wondering why I wore wellies and didn't just paddle in with bare feet, we live in the north east of England, and trust me when I tell you that the North Sea is bloody freezing! Long may the adventures continue!

Podcasts. In particular, Limetown. It is sooooo good! It's like a radio drama almost. If you like mystery and drama and good old fashioned creepy moments (chills down your spine kind of thing) I'd highly recommend checking it out.

The final favourite has to go to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yep, the original 90s series is on Netflix and I'm loving watching it all over again. The hair, the clothes, the heaving bosom romance between Buffy and Angel, LOVE IT! While I wait for the start date for my new job (will it ever come?!) I'm filling in my odd spare moments with an episode or two. It's a welcome distraction from the grey skies and crazy weather that has been this month.

I can't believe we're coming up to the final month of 2015! It's almost time to start playing the She and Him Christmas album on constant rotation...

Friday, 27 November 2015

Listen Up! - Sadie Fleming

There's no video as such to watch but it's definitely worth pressing play to hear the lovely voice of Sadie Fleming. This song makes me think of cosy evenings by a crackling fire (if only we still had one...), a glass of red in one hand and something yummy to eat in the other, lights dimmed low, with this playing in the background. Lovely.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Baking Christmas

Oooh Ahhh the house smells divine, what can that be? Oh yes, it's Christmas baking season! Dried fruit, oranges, lemons and spices littered all over the kitchen worktops, soaking and feeding. Yummo!

First up was the mincemeat. Neither mince nor meat, but fruity, boozy goodness all sealed up and ready to bake into mince pies. Woop! This is an overnight job, soaking all the fruit and sugar and spices together. If that wasn't yummy enough, you then bake it for 3 hours on a really low oven where basically your house smells so good you want to lick the oven door. I am excited to make these babies up into some tasty pies and bars.  

A few days later I made the cake for the traditional Christmas Eve icing extravaganza, that has fast become the highlight of the holidays for me! I've been very brave and gone off book (I'm still not sure that Delia has forgiven me from all those years ago...) and used a Mary Berry recipe. I mean, come on, surely Delia must approve of the Berry - she's an even bigger legend! More soaking, more yummy smells, more low ovens and long cooking times. It's been like a long drawn out torture for the dog who basically walks round the kitchen with his nose in the air, sniff sniff sniff.

Bring on all the Christmas goodies. It's the most, tastiest, time of the year!

Friday, 20 November 2015


I love these kind of lists. I enjoy writing them and reading them on other blogs too. My currently is looking something like this...

Drinking...a cup of instant, milky coffee in my Tally Ho moustache mug. It's all about a good mug.

Eating...a Penguin Yule log. Which is kind of like a mini roll in a Christmas wrapper. If you don't know what a mini roll is your life is not complete. the sound of the dog snoring gently. Silence is my background noise of choice when I'm working.

Reading...Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I'm enjoying it but my mind is not fully focused on it due to constant tiredness (see Challenged By... below) work from home outfit - a pair of jeggings (anyone else obsessed?!), a tee, and a hoodie. I'll either have trainers on my feet if I've just done the dog walk or kicks with socks. It's how I roll these days...

Challenged by...lack of time. It's old news now. Just read any other posts from this month!

Choosing...whether to make an appointment to get some Christmas themed gel nails. I've recently stopped biting my nails and I'm tempted by the Christmas jumper design. Should I...?

Excited time! I'm over the halfway mark of this incredible busy that is going on at the moment and I can't wait to get my life back again. Never again!

Planning...holidays for next year. We're thinking of a week camping somewhere like Wales with the dog, and then treating ourselves to one of our much loved French holidays. I can already feel the sun on my back and the taste of a chilled to perfection pink wine - heaven!

What are you wearing/reading/any of the above? Pick one and share below.

(Thanks to Chrystina Noel for the currently words inspiration)

Monday, 16 November 2015


It's a rare occasion when I give up on a book. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've done it in the past few years. I guess I'm a bit of a slogger and will keep at it, even when there's no enjoyment to be had. This past year has been a bit of a revelation though and I've given up on two books! Two! The first one was by Ali Smith and I just couldn't. I tried and tried but I was so confused and what's the point when you just don't know what is going on? The second one was this beast:

Step up The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Actually, it could probably be used as a step as it's over 800 pages!! (double exclamation marks definitely required)

It was on my to read list but I had no idea of the size of it and frankly, it was a bit of a shock when I picked it up from the library. Is there really any need? I have to be honest, I kept on putting it off and pushing it further down the pile on my bedside table, but eventually it came round to it. I had no choice. I was going in.

It got the better of me quite quickly. It's just so intimidating! It's heavy, it nearly breaks your shoulder when you put it in your handbag to carry around, and the writing is really small. I took it back to the library the next day so that it wouldn't taunt me from my bedside table #wuss

The real truth? I reckon it would have taken me about 5 weeks to read, possibly longer, and I'm approaching the end of my book challenge and it would seriously have held me back! I'm determined to have one successful challenge this year, determined!

I think I'll come back to it again in the future. The story seemed to have a lot of potential and I remain intrigued by it. But I might have to build up my shoulder first by lifting some weights, and perhaps build a book prop for when I'm reading in bed? I'm sure Dave could do that no problem...

Friday, 13 November 2015

Listen Up! - Swifty Against Stress

Life is throwing a few stress-head situations my way lately. I'm trying really hard to do the deep breathing thing to stay calm (which seems to work for about 20 seconds) and also having a word with myself to not let it get to me, but when it does I've found the perfect solution.

Swifty! Walking home while singing this, and including a few shoulder shakes, really worked to calm me down. It's possible that I might have looked like I had been released from somewhere, but it was late on and there weren't too many people about...whatever works for you is my mantra.

Next time you're feeling stressed out, give it a try. The shoulder shakes definitely add more to it and are therefore highly recommended.

Sidenote: Yes, I freely admit it, I own 1989 by Taylor Swift. I don't care what you think. Sometimes you just need a bit of pop in your life...

Monday, 9 November 2015


You know when you say you'll do something, but you don't really think through the consequences? That's me right now. I foolishly agreed to be the Production Assistant (PA) for the upcoming show at my theatre group and when the rehearsal schedule was sent to me I think I gulped out loud. Essentially, as I am also a builder and set decorator crew member, I'm currently at the theatre 5 nights out of 7. Next week that goes up to 6. It's worse than a full time job! Nobody told me this at the beginning, and I already know that I won't be doing it ever again. It's crazy!

If I was only doing that I probably wouldn't mind so much. But I'm also currently working my extra hours that I got for my existing job, one that I actually get paid for. I'm due to start my new libraryland job as soon as the paperwork comes through. Add in dog walks, boring household chores, cooking dinner, food shopping, Dave due to go away on business, preparing for Christmas, and all the other day to day living, and you could say I'm kinda busy. Actually, scratch that, very busy!

I'm not complaining, sometimes life throws these busy periods at you and you work your way through them. I generally make it through by being absolutely starving the whole time (I think my adrenaline goes into overdrive), going to bed as early as possible, and staring into space/out of the window as my brain goes on a temporary holiday.

I have the rehearsal schedule pinned up on the kitchen cabinet and am crossing off each night as it's done. A bit like being in jail if you will. Release will be imminent, well, on the 19th December. I'd like to think I'm planning a big celebration but the reality will probably be a nice bath and a long sleep. It's the small things...

How's life treating you? Make me jealous by talking about all your free time!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Winter Cozies

I still can't believe it's November! I could seriously dedicate a whole post to the wonder of where on earth has 2015 gone but it's probably not that interesting. So it's November. Which means it gets dark at 5pm, and soon it will get dark even earlier than that, and sooner still pretty much most of the day seems to be dark - oh Winter, you can be a tough guy to handle sometimes. 

I was thinking about this on Sunday as we were hunkered down in the living room. It was past 5, our lush red curtains were closed against the dark night, I was sprawled out on the sofa, Dave was stretched out on the floor, Bob the Dog was (unsurprisingly) asleep after his epic adventure going into the sea for the first time, and we were watching Addams Family Values. Add in the steaming hot soup and warm bread that we ate a few moments later and you have yourself some winter cosy right there. 

It was so chilled it almost felt a bit surreal. Life at the moment is very busy with work, theatre, garden tasks, house jobs, general boring household chores like ironing piles that keep on growing, food shopping...well, you know it, day to day life. To take a couple of hours out and just collapse on the sofa with a brilliant Sunday evening film was just the best! 

I think we're going to need more of that to make it through the next few weeks. I don't even want to stop and seriously think about all we have to do or my brain might melt down. 

Come on Sunday evening chill time, you can't come soon enough! I wonder what the film will be this week? 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Return to Libraryland!

For those of you who have been following along for a while, don't worry, I haven't lost my mind. I'm not returning to the previous incarnation of Libraryland, but a whole new one. Yep, I've found me a permanent job! Unless you've been in the situation of being faced with no job I'm not sure you'll get how completely and utterly relieved I am to have this new opportunity in front of me. Regular income! Being paid at the same time each month! Pension schemes! Gahhh, all words I thought I would never be writing but oh man, it feels good to be able to think that they are a reality. Begone uncertainty, hello predictability. 

I have to admit I feel excited about going back to libraries. The truth is that I never really hated them in the first place. The reasons for getting out of the other library were many-fold and revolved a lot around them not letting me realise my potential - I was always applying for jobs, and got more and more downhearted as they went to external candidates who could embellish their skills in ways I never could when you're somewhere every day. Plus there was a whole host of other crappy stuff going on that I've long since written off but when you're in it? That is a hard thing to do relentlessly. 

The time away from that library has been an amazing time for me. I don't mean amazing in that every day was like unicorns dancing and endless rainbows (as you do) but amazing in how much I have grown. Going back to school, my first job out of school, the job I'm doing now - they have all provided me with a wealth of skills and experiences that I have both embraced and bashed my head against a wall at. Let's take presentations as an example. Prior to all of this the very thought of presentations filled me with utter terror, like proper breaking out in a cold sweat and shaky legs. For this job interview the letter said to prepare a presentation, which I did, and was all ready to deliver on the day of the interview. Except the letter was wrong and it was actually only a question. And they had nothing for me to show my presentation. Previously I would probably have had to leave the room as I would have had no idea how to proceed and would have been having a nervous breakdown, but I just took it all in my stride! I used the ideas I had prepared, could visualise all my bullet points, even told them about the pretty pictures I had included, and waved my arms about a lot. They told me afterwards that they were really impressed with how I handled that situation. I can't even. You have no idea what this means to me. 

Anyway, getting back to the story. Returning to Libraryland. This time it's public libraries, a whole new ball game for me. It's part time hours which allows me to continue with my current role in the other part, and I can't wait! 

I can't wait to work in a team again, instead of sitting alone at home gazing out of the window. I can't wait to get my work wardrobe back out again and introduce them to all my colour. So many happy things. 

Have you had any good news this week?